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Is your P@ssw0rd! strong enough?

Increasingly, we get people coming to us who’ve been hacked or had someone try to hack one of their accounts. Here we look at how you can decrease the chances of that happening – just by changing your password.


Hello reader! Zarte here! Yes, you changed all my passwords excellently, but I managed to force my way back in!

And that might have been because you chose a rubbish password. Which is exactly what I’m writing about today. Well, not choosing rubbish passwords, but how to choose a good one.

Why? Well, I don’t want to scare you, but the methods used by the nasty so and so’s who try and hack your accounts on various websites are becoming more advanced. Whereas once upon a time, adding a number to the end of “Password” and changing one of the esses to a dollar sign would have been enough to irritate a manual hacker, they now have machines and software advanced enough to tear that apart in a matter of minutes.

This means that the time has come to revolt against these swines, and come up with passwords to truly foil them. So, here’s a quick guide for how to turn your pAs$word4 into something to really stump someone!

  1. Don’t use any easily obtainable personal information in a password. Nothing relating to a date of birth, a house number, your registration plate – hackers will always target people they have a background on first, and isolate these elements. Be random.
  2. Don’t use solely words or names that can be found in a standard dictionary or book of names. These sorts of books are crammed in straight away to the software being used, and so will go in no time at all. With this in mind, please don’t name your children Zarte any time soon. I quite like my name being difficult for hackers as I’m the only one. Ha, take that hackers.
  3. Try and include all of the following in your password; a capital letter that isn’t the first letter, a number and if the website you’re using allows, then a symbol too. Each of these you can too will massively improve your password’s strength. (Providing you aren’t STILL trying to do it with a version of the word password...)
  4. Change your password regularly. A lot of people forget to (including me – I’m no saint), but it really is crucial. Especially if you’re using the same password for a lot of things. Also, even if you’ve changed your password recently, if you’re aware of staff movement amongst employees who’ve previously held access to sensitive personal data such as passwords, then change your password straight away. They’re probably perfectly decent people, but is it really worth not spending the 2 minutes changing things just in case they turn out to be a bit vitriolic? When it comes to passwords, paranoia is your friend. Just like you’re my friend... you are my friend, right?
  5. Check a rough idea of your password against a fancy password checker, like this one at Kaspersky - don’t ever put your exact password in, but play around with transposed ideas to get a clue on what might make your password that much more undetectable. Or do what I do and put rude words into it to see how obscure your profanities are. No? Just me?

Anyway, follow these steps and hopefully you’ll have an indestructible password in no times at all.

Then you just have to face the main problem that I have. Remembering what you actually set it to... oh well. Rest assured, that I’ll have remembered it by the time I have to write to you all again! Bad luck!

Until next time,